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CD Review
The Outlyers
“American Songbook”
By Bob Silvestri

    When you strip away the one hit wonders, flavor of the month and bubblegum artists the one thing that remains the same are the dedicated group of artists making real American music. American music as defined by the blending of blues, folk, rock, back porch strummers and garage bands everywhere. Of course very few artists even dare to tread these waters. Performers such as Springsteen, Mellencamp, Steve Earle and Wilco among a few others still travel this road. Local artists The Outlyers fall into this group of artists. Consisting of Jim Celeste (drums), Tom Fischer (bass), Adam Gearing (guitars /vocals), Dave Meinzer (guitar/vocals), Jim Whitford (pedal steel) and Cathy Carfagna (keyboards/accordion) The Outlyers continue in this fine form of American music with the release of their CD “American Songbook”.
   The CD begins with the jangly guitar sounds of “The Journey Is The Thing” and continues with the sweet sounds of the next track “Tremolo”. The laid back easiness of The Outlyers is best exemplified by the song “Playing Ball With Shoeless Joe”. “Playing Ball…” has always been a highlight of the band’s live shows and is an outstanding track on the CD as well. “ A Twist Of Regret” a somber lament of mistakes made strikes a chord of “haven’t we all been there before”. “The Ballad Of Bo” is a swampy mysteriously greasy number ala C.C.R. and “The Last Frontier” with its dreamy guitar sound conjures up Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
     “If I Wanted To” is the CD’s best track, a Dave Meinzer song about someone who claims to be over a former lover yet still pines for her deep down. Jim Celeste’s drum and cymbal playing and Gearing’s slide guitar are incredible on this track. “5 Minutes Ago” another outstanding Meinzer written song features Jim Bohms and Al Monte on trumpet and sax respectively and Gearing with some really slinky guitar playing. “Rock Castle” yet another great Meinzer written tune is a roots-rock rave-up about the long gone McVan’s Rock Castle. If you are old enough to remember McVan’s or to have hung out there in its heyday (yes we were there!) you will know what a great club, possibly the best ever in Buffalo, that it was. Meinzer manages to mention everyone from The Jumpers, The Enemies, Electroman, the B-52’s and more, all who were club regulars. “Rock Castle” is a fine tribute to one of the most exciting eras of local music. The non-existent bonus track at the end is a nice touch.
    The Outlyers CD “American Songbook” is a great primer of American roots music. For more on the band go to www.wnywebshop.com/outlyers

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